NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Monday Night Football in Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers | Tuesday 1st October 2019, 01:15 | Sky Sports
I don’t think many of us expected to see these AFC North rivals sitting at a combined 0-6 after three weeks of the season, but here we are.
These aren’t the Steelers and Bengals that many of us have gotten used to over the years either; gone are Pittsburgh’s Killer B’s along with Cincinnati’s long-time head coach Marvin Lewis and feud-inducing MLB Vontaze Burfict (who is still getting himself ejected, but for the Raiders).
Steelers backup QB Mason Rudolph’s first start in relief of the injured Roethlisberger was a bit of a let-down against the 49ers with only two completed passes travelling a yard past the line of scrimmage (both did go for TDs, however). Whether he’ll improve this week will come down to the OL in my view – according to PFF, the Bengals ranks third in pressure percentage, but if they fail to get to the QB, the secondary has struggled.
Rudolph wasn’t the only Steeler who struggled, though. RB James Connor was once again bottled up last week and is yet to reach 100 yards rushing on the season (he’s currently sitting at 97 after three games).
This could be a “get right” game for Connor as the Bengals are ranked 31st against the run, giving up 168.7 yards a game on the ground. Indeed, I like Connor to hit his line this week and go Over 67.5 yards rushing.
Of course, liking Connor also means I like Pittsburgh to open up their passing attack against a vulnerable Cincinnati secondary. If they don’t look to stretch the field, the Bengals defenders will be in and around the line of scrimmage and Connor’s running lanes will be smaller. I think they have the confidence to do so, especially at home against a lesser defence than the 49ers field.
Connor showed last season that he’s too talented to stay in this sort of slump and I think he’ll get on track against the Bengals rush defence.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – James Connor Over 67.5 Rushing Yards (17/20 Betway)